October 22, 2020
Scott Peterson, Director of Communications, Office of Public Information, 202-277-9412
New park in Downtown Columbia named after 102-year-old World War II Veteran
ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Today, County Executive Calvin Ball celebrated the ribbon cutting and official opening of the Vivian C. ‘Millie’ Bailey Neighborhood Square in Downtown Columbia at Lake Kittamaqundi, named after World War II veteran and community leader Vivian ‘Millie’ Bailey. The Howard Hughes Corporation developed the park and today signed the property over to the Howard County Department of Recreation & Parks. The 26,000-square-foot and multi-use park will also serve as home for the Howard County Veterans Monument, which is being developed by the Howard County Veterans Foundation. Photos of the event can be found here.
“Ms. Millie has a spirit that defines the greatest generation of America,” said Ball. “Since she settled in Howard County in 1970, she has become a well-respected community leader and jumped at the opportunity to give back. This multi-use park will also serve as home for the Howard County Veterans Monument, which is being developed by the Howard County Veterans Foundation. It is my hope that as our community enjoys this new park for many many years to come, we will always remember the spirit of service and courage of Ms. Millie.”
“Naming the park for me is indeed a high honor and I would never have dreamed of receiving such incredible recognition,” said Vivian ‘Millie” Bailey.
“Bailey Park is a direct result of the Downtown Columbia Plan, adopted by the County Council unanimously in 2010, recognizing the importance of freedom of speech in civic life,” said Greg Fitchitt, President, Columbia, The Howard Hughes Corporation. “The Plan called for the dedication to the public of an outdoor amenity space available for public assembly and discourse. Bailey Park couldn’t come at a better time to affirm the highest value that we, as Americans, place on our right to peaceably assemble and our rights of free speech. This area – with its playground, its connection to the beloved Columbia Lakefront, and its future as the site of the Howard County Veteran’s Monument – is truly a park for all people.”
"I grew up around water, so ever since I arrived in the Columbia community, the Downtown Lakefront has been a special place for me; just as it is a special place to residents of the community and others in Howard County,” said Milton W. Matthews, President/CEO of Columbia Association. “The addition of Bailey Park to the Downtown Lakefront will make this special place a greater draw as a gathering place."
"I and the other 20,000 Veterans of Howard County are excited for Millie Bailey Park, the future home of the Howard County Veterans Monument, to open,” said Bob Gillette, Howard County Veterans Foundation President. “This achievement brings us one step closer in making the Lakefront a place where our community can come to celebrate, not only the life and legacy of Millie Bailey, but the service and sacrifice of our Veterans and Military Families."
"With Howard Hughes transferring ownership of this park to the County, it will become a public facility for the citizens and visitors of Howard County to enjoy," said Recreation & Parks Director Raul Delerme. "It is such an honor for me to accept this park into our Department’s inventory especially with it being named after such an important role model and gracious person as Ms. Millie Bailey."
About Vivian C. ‘Millie’ Bailey
1st Lieutenant Vivian Mildred Corbett (Bailey) graduated from Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps Training Center in Fort Des Moines, Iowa, in 1943. In the following year she served as second in command of the Women’s Colored Detachment in Fort McClellan, Alabama. Upon her transfer from there, Lieutenant Corbett received a Letter of Commendation recognizing her stellar professional performance and her “excellent character, spirit, and disposition.” From 1944-1946, Lieutenant Corbett served as the Unit Commander, Women’s Colored Detachment #2 at Fort Benning, Georgia. During that time, she was selected and attended the Adjutant General School, Officers’ Administration Course. She was one of only two African American women in that class and graduated with a superior rating and it was the only time she served in a non-segregated environment during her time in service. 1st Lieutenant Vivian Corbett was honorably discharged from the Women’s Army Corps in January 1946.
Ms. Bailey and her husband, William, moved to Howard County in 1970. Since she arrived in Columbia, Ms. Bailey has been a well-respected community leader. Her passion and commitment to serving others endures to this day, and at 102 years of age, she continues to give back to her community in many ways. As a member of American Legion Post 156, she personally prepares gift packages for our actively deployed soldiers. And prior to the pandemic, she was often found at Running Brook Elementary School, volunteering her time to lend a helping hand. She has been instrumental in raising a considerable amount of money for Running Brook over the past 20+ years. She also has been recognized by the Community Action Council of Howard County with the 2018 Reverend John W. Holland Humanitarian Award for her lifelong commitment to serving others.
Last week, Ms. Bailey inspired her community when she checked off sky-diving from her bucket list. Thanks to Skydive Baltimore, Ms. Bailey jumped from 10,000 with a tandem skydive instructor.
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